While Google and Yahoo Answers still offer a place to pose your questions, new Q&A products and forums have been popping up like dandelions in an open meadow lately. Some of the most recent products include Aardvark, which sold to Google this past February for around $50 million and Hunch which was founded by Flickr founder Caterina Fake and Chris Dixon which looks for users to answer questions in an effort to predict a hyperlocal, personalized value. Formspring rolled out like wildfire across Facebook and snatched up 50 million uniques in 30 days. Quora, founded by Adam D'Angelo, a former CTO and VP of Engineering at Facebook, has been the talk of the Silicon Valley intellectual community as a depot for a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone. And there are more (we're keeping our eye on you, Sponge).
But what about real-time Q&A? That's where Replyz fits into the landscape. Replyz is a DC area startup that looks to tap into the real-time stream that's all around us, making questions and answers as simple as searching on Google or posting on Twitter.
Replyz takes the idea of simple Q&A and brings it to life real-time through Twitter. You simply sign on with your Twitter account and Replyz does a semantic analysis of your past tweets to suggest some possible topics of interest. You then flip through question after question in a somewhat addictive fashion as you tweet out the replies (thus, the name) to all the answers. Replyz turns each question into a threaded conversation which can then be easily digested in one place. We jumped in and answered a question about the new Windows Phone 7 and you can see the answer thread (below). Replyz offers users a way to subscribe to specific topics that they like and over time will be creating a rather robust data set of questions and anwsers thus reverse engineering the making of a Q&A search engine.
Replyz is a very interesting product as it reminds me of Formspring which has been successful at tapping into Facebook to attract a huge following, but also tends to skew towards a younger demographic of users. If Replyz can close the loop with Twitter users to ensure that questions get anwsered by someone within a short period of time, Replyz could really take off.
The Replyz team is filled with seasoned entrepreneurs with over a decade of experience building Q&A and search products. It includes Matthew Koll who has sold both of his last two companies, David Troy of Twittervision fame, Allen Searls who developed a live Q&A site back in 2001 and Greg Gershman who was behind Blogdigger and other products that have been showcased at some of our earliest DC events.
Replyz will be featured at our upcoming TechCocktail DC Startup Mixer event on September 29th. At the event they we will be unveiling a new tool that automatically assesses your interests and shows you relevant questions that people are asking on Twitter. If you're the kind of person who likes helping others, or just has a lot of opinions to share, Replyz “Flashcards” could be a great way to share your knowledge and build your reputation.